Davis and May
The Metal Bird
November’s March cut through the air at speeds Davis was very uncomfortable with. The clouds above the ship were fluffy and white, the sun found every gap in the clouds and was hell bent on blinding the crew. Davis wanted for the Woolf siblings to be present, but the Villa Clonna equivalent of law enforcement felt it best if the Woolfs and the Hunters they punched remained imprisoned until tempers settled. There was little doubt within Davis’ mind the three aboard November’s March could handle any fight that awaited them, but the over-sized Woolfs had a force of presence that stopped many battles before they began.
They flew over the flats of Clonna, the large stretch of grassland over volcanic dirt that lead to the Cliffs. “He went west,” a drunken Hunter informed the crew before their departure. West of Villa Clonna was miles of grass and uplifted rock. Davis had no idea when the mysterious man with the metal bird could hide in such a landscape. He knew the man and his bird had to be found though, so Woolfs on board or not, the crew of November’s March would find their target this day.
“Darling, come here,” May beckoned.
She pointed out a herd of galloping gazelles. They were not native to the area, but appeared to be thriving on the land of lush tropical grasses. The animals picked up speed as the airship passed over head.
“They must not be familiar with the cliffs,” Winston remarked. “Our cliff side herds will eat from your hand if offered. Might eat your hand too. Not very smart creatures cliff side.”
Davis smiled and held his tongue, avoiding saying aloud a comment most condemning of the law man that came from the cliff side.
May gave him a knowing, sideways glance.
“I’m going to keep us moving along the river,” May said, “if there’s anything out here it will be near the river.”
Davis appreciated the change in topic.
They continued on their journey stopping only because the sun began its descent beyond the horizon. With light and warmth gone, May parked November’s March and the three shipmates settled in for the evening. May went below deck to make herself a meal, and Winston and Davis took on sentry duties at opposing ends of the ship. There was no more dangerous time than dusk aboard a darkened airship.
Davis fiddled with his telescope, collapsing it on itself over and over again. He had done his fair share of night guardsman duties and had frankly grown bored by the process. In defiance to the conventional theory that pirates and brigands preyed on ships at night, Davis had only met trouble in daylight. He leaned against the ship’s railing, played with the telescope and whistled a tune.
Winston on the other hand was as jittery as could be. He checked his flares, moved about the bow of the ship with his telescope in full night mode and it never left his left eye. If there was trouble coming toward the craft, Winston was going to spot it.
It was Winston’s nervousness and diligence that made Davis cringe when the words filled the air.
“Metal bird!” Winston shouted.
May came running to the top deck with a biscuit in hand.
Davis looked through his telescope, engaged the night mode switch which caused the contraption to release more mirrors and expand just slightly to catch more light, and saw the airship they had been chasing.
Through his scope he saw thick metallic wings moving up and down and sending sparks flying backward in the process. A man in a top hat and long jacket pedaled his way through the sky. Across his chest was a bandolier full of the casings and jars Davis and May had encountered time and time again since arriving in this part of the world. If not for the sparks, the dark and silent machine would have slipped by unnoticed. Winston had spotted their man though.
“He has dozens of flasks on his person. Approaching could be problematic,” Davis said.
“Leave that to me,” May said. She walked to the helm of November’s March and reignited the engines.
The ship lurched forward as the fires of the turbines below deck whirred to life. Winston vowed to never again forget to brace himself when May made cryptic and menacing statements; he pulled himself back to his feet.
“Winston, fire off some flares toward our friend,” Davis ordered.
Winston brought back the sun as flare after flare filled the sky.
The metal bird flapped faster and moved lower. May was undeterred. November’s March sped up and she asked Davis to lower the rope ladder.
Complying, Davis dropped the ladder over board and turned to May.
“Dear, what is the plan here?” Davis asked.
“I’m going fishing…for birds. The metaphor sounded much more intimidating in my head. Either way, we’re going to swing around and catch this guy,” May said.
“I must admit, this night has become spectacularly fun,” Winston said smiling.
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